Media Measurement – It’s All About Location, Location, Location

September 9, 2015 – GeoMarketing We talk about major milestones in advertising vehicles and the story is peppered with icons, from the printing press to Google search. It’s fun and compelling – we’ve come a long way, baby. However, when the conversation turns to media measurement, we don’t wax as eloquently. Measurement is historically evasive, which is too bad because really, measurement tells us whether or not advertising is performing.

Without intelligent measurement, targeted advertising is an unmistakable exercise in insanity and unjustifiable spending. So like any evolving species we’ve learned to make tools along the way. Ad impressions, gross rating points (GPRs) and target rating points (TRPs), were the tools we made, forming a bridge that connected advertising effectiveness, making sense of the spend and the strategy.

We’ve traditionally measured success through the lens of media outcomes instead of actual real-time business outcomes, mostly because there wasn’t a viable way to do that.

Then along came the internet, bringing with it a new dimension in measurability.

Marketers could now measure banner ad clicks and website conversions. We believed that counting clicks and conversions was a step in the right direction and that it was extremely useful. As it turns out, it was only kind of useful.

The problem is that most advertisers’ business is not driven by clicks or even website conversions. If you look at the top 25 advertisers in the U.S., most of them sell product in the physical world. With a few exceptions, clicks are a proxy and are of little relevance, even if these advertisers think they are.

What marketers should be measuring in these cases are business outcomes. Mobile advertising and measurement is the connective tissue that can fuse the digital ad world to real-world business outcomes, providing large brand advertisers what they have been missing – a media vehicle that can deliver high reach, high consumer engagement and ad measurement to real-world business outcomes.

Sales data is incredibly powerful and would be the Holy Grail to optimize and measure campaign performance, but in most cases, advertisers find it difficult to link sales data to advertising media in real-time for optimization and measurement purposes. Media mix modeling (MMM) helps define business attribution by media type, but the time spent building the models makes it difficult to act upon them for any media investment course correction. This has always been an issue with marketers. The result is that for the foreseeable future, sales data for many advertisers is too disconnected from media activation for real-time optimization purposes.

Actually knowing, in real time, when customers are visiting their locations, ostensibly to purchase a product, should supplant any kind of media measurement that currently exists. Using physical location visit data as a means of quickly changing course with advertising buys could impact the sales and give the marketer better transparency into what’s working.

Optimizing digital ads to increase foot traffic to physical locations is a major breakthrough for the industry because what really matters to a business isn’t ad impressions or target rating points – it’s actual traffic and retail sales. This is exactly in line with advertisers’ core mission to drive foot traffic and is why physical location visits are the next big Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Granted, we are in the early stages of tracking the entire media mix to real-world location visits. Yet, the speed of ad tech innovation is revealing how location analytics is impacting media strategy and investment decisions.

Mobile advertising and the cross media measurement to location will be game changing. After all, our mobile devices are ubiquitous. They’re always on, always connected, always accessible and always with us. Mobile is not just the first screen; it’s the screen that can measure our real-world footprints.

A new virtual reality is reshaping our ability to connect directly with consumers, as they literally set foot in the store. Marketers who are able to track, measure and optimize their media mix to location visit and establish the sources of incremental foot traffic will have a powerful strategic weapon in their arsenal.

And all’s fair in love, war, and moving merchandise.

*Michael Hayes is Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of Pasadena’s UberMediaa cross-screen mobile advertising platform that leverages social data, location history, and intent cues to identify the heart of consumer decision-making. Hayes oversees marketing, business and brand development. Since Hayes joined UberMedia in 2013, the company has secured advertising partnerships with some of the most recognizable brands including Lexus, BMW, Chrysler-Jeep, AT&T, Nike, Adidas, Levis, Unilever, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Coca Cola, Red Bull and many more. Hayes is a pioneer in interactive marketing and advertising with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Prior to UberMedia, Hayes was president at Initiative, one of Interpublic’s two worldwide media agencies, where he was responsible for worldwide strategy and operational oversight of the agency’s digital practice. This included overall digital strategy and activation on behalf the agency’s flagship clients including Hyundai-Kia, MillerCoors, Lionsgate, MillerCoors, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

This article was originally published by Michael Hayes for GeoMarketing